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Carters Steam Fair and my Brownie

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We went to Carters Steam Fair the other day – it is a spectacular family run affair and a feast for the eyeballs. Mr and Mrs Carter began their fairground adventure quite unintentionally, by just getting hold of a few bits of a carousel and building it in their lawn much to the delight of the neighbourhood tikes and the consternation of the council! Their devotion grew until they had enough rides to tour, and they continue to do so throughout the South East every summer. I love this story, partly as I can see myself and Tim with half a fairground ride in our garden.

We have been each year for the last three, and every time we feel a bit more inspired by the vintage signage and nostalgic vibe.

The first time we went was long before the days of Instagram, and the best way to get an old effect was to actually use an old camera. I would rig up my digital camera to my ancient Brownie with a loo roll and some selotape, and would spend hours trying to get some good shots. Many a strange look was shot my way, as I trundled around with this ridiculous contraption. But other weirdos do it too, yeah,  in fact it even has a name;  “TTVF” – Through The View Finder. Once things have a name it is pretty much An Official Non-Weird Past Time.

My old Kodak Brownie bought for £2 from The Sallies. What a friendly fellow he is!

Here are some of the shots taken with him at the Fair.

Back then these photos were INCREDIBLE – a nowaday scene with a vintage lens. But now they just look like they have been badly filtered with one of the many Vintage-ise your photos app.

Yes, er, there does seem to be a pube stuck in the Brownie.

I was well excited about taking Ramona on the carousel, and when she saw it too she went nuts –  almost climbing up mid-round, the little keen bean. When it was our turn we hopped on it but the second it started going round Ramona became kinda anti-carousel and actually threw a full blown, back arching,wobbly in an attempt to get off. I tried holding her close for a few rounds, but it became impossible and we had to perform a dodgy hand over trick to pass her down to Tim. I then had to ride the whole 5 minutes solo and the looks were more incriminating than when I was wandering around with two cameras and a loo roll.


Riding the carousel, trying to be all casual like.

Ramona is becoming fiercely strong willed and theatrically expressive. It is wonderful to see her personality unfurling more and more, but with it comes a new learning curve. Trying to not let my own embarrassment, or shame, or sense of properness interfere with my response to her. It is too easy to think (and say)  “Oh don’t be silly” rather than try and see things from her perspective, and to validate any feelings of angst she might have.  Especially when you had to style out riding the carousel solo.

Ramona being totally appalled by a cloud of candy floss almost bigger than her

Anyway, back to the snaps. See, I got some of these PRINTED! Y’ know, that thing you used to do? Back in the day?  I, like, sent the files to a photo place, and they came back on GLOSSY PAPER.  Then I stuck my favourites behind an old window pane we found in a skip.

It’s propped up next to our cool lamp, it had no base so was only a cheeky £1 from a carboot and we created an impromptu  foundation out of some old wood.

So. There it is, Carters Steam Fair, through the eyes of my Brownie.

Linking up with other scavengers and secondhand lovers over at Missie Lizzie – traipse on round and ‘ave ye a peep.

24 responses »

  1. Awww lovely! 2 things from reading that post this early morn.

    1) I think Levi thinks Ramona’s a bit of alright. He was lying on me as I read on my phone and kept grabbing it when her piccy came up!

    2) I really think you should rename the post ‘Pube in a brownie’.

  2. oh yeh – me and my other half have both ended up on fairground rides on our own ! trying to look nonchalant about it : )
    Love that old window frame, skip envy should be a recognised illness!

  3. Lol! Your fairground ride could have been SO much worse. It’s acceptable for adults to ride on merry go rounds without children. It could have been one of those kiddie themed rides, you know… a postman pat train or something… Now that would have looked weird, or as Big J says “that’s just WRONG”!!!

  4. I am positively disappointed that my two are old enough to go on some things all by themselves, the gallopers being one of them. I was gutted when I stopped being allowed up the big inflatable slide thingy.

    Your photos look great, I’m watching ‘Carnivale’ at the moment, less romance in that though.

  5. OMG I Lurve this post!

    What a charmed life you lead, riding shotgun on old carousels, snapping away with pube infested Brownies. I think I love you!

  6. Brilliant post. The pube comment did make me chuckle. What a fab old camera and I too am super jealous at that skip find – it is lovely!!

  7. Fab finds combined in an interesting way as always!

    I was so excited to see you and yours in the July issue of Pretty Nostalgic x

  8. livingitlittle

    Oh, I love the Carter’s Steam Fair. We went a few times when we lived in London (before we had kids oddly!). It doesn’t seem to venture up North or if it does I haven’t heard about it. Sounds like you all had a lovely time. x

  9. I’ve been trying to think up some kind of spectacular surprise for my Tim when he gets back in November….a fun fair in the back garden ought to do it! 🙂
    Fantastic post x

  10. Pubes really do get everywhere.. I love the effect you got taking photos through the Brownie though, that’s fantastic! As for being on the carousel on your own.. that’s fine! I’d go on one on my own, no problem! x

  11. another great post…….I would like to know who was doing what with the brownie to get a pube in it?!?!?!?!

    I love old photo’s, the more crackled the better.

    I know what you mean about Ramona and behaviour etc. My little girl is now 4 years old and I am seriously questionning my parenting tactics and how they have affected her. I was always brought up to do as my parents said, no questionning but I don’t want to be like that with my children. I want to help them learn in everything they do. It’s hard sometimes taking a breath and not shouting but I really want to get there. I also want to switch off my button that makes me worry whether everyone else thinks my child is well behaved. Who cares what they think.

    Keep being the crazy mummy you are!

    • YES, switching that off button is pretty key I think. To just do what it best for your child and you and not care a dash about the opinions of others.

  12. I love those photos. How did you do it?? I have a couple of old brownies and I’ve been trying to do the same thing but with no luck!! can you tell me how or give me some tips? Thanks

    • Hmm. I have to be honest- it is kind of tricky. I am sure you have googled it. But things we found helped –
      2/3rd of a loo roll connecting them.
      Let NO light into the connecting tube.
      Use a macro (or super macro) setting.
      Play around with the settings of your camera.

      One of the hardest things to get used to is the angling of it, because the image is obviously the opposite to what you see?

      They take a bit of editing after too- cropping the actual image away from the huge black surround, and often (for me anyway) straightening them up.

      Hope this helps! My first shot TTV was very lucky and AMAZING – it then took another 50 to try and get another shot but by then I had the hang of it! Be patient and try lots of things.


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